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The Ultimate Madness 2002
Amateur - Brass
Eagle AllStars - Rogers, AR
The Ultimate Madness 3 man tournament came back to Huntington West Virginia. This community, a stones throw across the river from Ohio, has welcomed the tournament back with open arms. Last year was the launch of the Ultimate Madness, unique for it's size as an indoor 3 man event, women's division and Top Gun one on one competition. Madness promoters Milt Call and Paul "PGP" Bollenbach found the city as a potential site to draw in three man teams from the the central US. Huntington's mayor, David Felinton has been quite progressive in the past year in encouraging new events and activities in the city to bolster its economy. The Huntington Civic Arena has been host to attractions including Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Barney, Hank Williams Jr., Ricky Skaggs, Harlem Globetrotters, figure skating, hockey games and more. For the first Ultimate Madness, every local television station sent out crews to report, some even running live remote feeds, while the local newspaper, the Herald-Dispatch reported on the tournament daily. In preparation for the 2002 tournament the Herald-Dispatch provided a preview of the event telling locals where and when the tournament would be, some of the teams to keep an eye on, and that the scores and web cam would be available on WARPIG.com.
The tournament started on Friday with the Top Gun one on one competition using 4 of the tournament's netted Ultimate Airball ball fields. Over 5,000 zip ties held the netting in place, complete with a netted roof. Barricades kept the spectators a few feet from the side nets, allowing them to mill about the vendors who had set up displays in a U shape around three sides of the arena.
Each of the six fields was identical in layout, using Ultimate Airball bunkers. A pair of stand up cans were left and right of each flag station, upfield of it by about 5 yards. Another yard forward in the center was another stand up can. Then a further 5 yards down field, a pair of stand up triangles are placed to the left and right. The center of each field featured a small triangle with a single bend snake in front of and behind it, as well as a dorito on each sideline. The Ultimate Airball bunkers were color coordinated for each field, and each was emblazoned with the logo of that field's sponsor. The field sponsors Wicked Mpulse, Severe Paintballs, Murder Inc., Vengeance Gear, Crossfire and National Paintball Supply.
Reffing was by the very highly acclaimed All Americans 2. Unlike most top-gun tournaments, the one on one tournament was played with round robin preliminary rounds going for points, rather than as a single elimination system. The prelims were so heavily tied, that instead of the planned 16 players going on to the semifinals, 25 players advanced. 8 players tied for first with 250 points, two tied at 235 points, and fourteen teams tied with 200 points. Eric Dearing was the top ranked player coming into the semifinals and went on to the finals. The remaining five finalists had been at the very bottom (20,21,22,23,25th positions) of the semifinals pack, which was definitely a surprise. Some of the well known names competing in the finals included Chris Remuzzi of Bad Company and Galen Adams of Brass Eagle All Stars. Last year's top gun Wally Santos, last year's second place ranked Todd Adamson of Aftershock, and Tommy Cole of Bad Company all got knocked out in the semis. Topping the 6 men advancing to finals was Bryon Stewart of Trauma who also won the day and an 5 Man Ultimate Airball Field as his prize.
Due to a rule not being clarified at the start of the top gun tournament, neoprene hopper covers were allowed. It was decided that since they were allowed at first they would be allowed through the duration of the top gun, but it was made clear at the 3 man captain's meeting that they would not be permitted in 3 man.
The three player competition started bright and early on Saturday morning with the Rookie and Women's prelims. The three man format is of definite benefit when running a tournament with a large number of teams. With less players per team, the chances of all of the players being to their field on time increases, and on the small three man fields, the games go rather quickly, so the tournament stayed right on schedule.
Early stand-out teams in the Rookie prelims included Crow Dawgs White, Nemesis Raven Jr., Sould Out, Splat Factory, and Sudden Impact TN. For the ladies, T&A Extreme was the early leader winning their first three games.
Airgun Designs provided some added side entertainment. They sponsored the sports fans foundation who brought a small fleet of radio controlled cars and trucks for racing on an indoor course next to their booth. AGD customers who were having their paintguns serviced, or getting Warp Feeds added on were able to pass the time by racing, and other spectators were invited to join in the races after making a donation to Friends for Santa, a charitable organization that works with terminally ill children.
At Tippmann Pneumatic's booth the new A5 drew both praise and criticism. It features the pneumatic driven positive pressure feed system featured in a WARPIG Technical Sneak Peak last spring, in a paintgun that somewhat resembles an H&K MP5 submachine gun. Technically the A5 adds some great features to the M98 concept - easy field stripping, adjustable H&K style sights, lightweight materials, forward top cocking like an H&K, optional vertical feed, and of course the new feed system. Several people in the paintball industry however, have expressed concerns over a mass produced paintguns bearing such a strong resemblance to a real firearm, as "they look to much like real guns" is a reason cited by many legislators who have recently passed regional laws to ban or heavily restrict paintball.
Saturday evening, games ended around 6 pm. The fact that it doesn't run late into the night is one of the points that sets the Ultimate Madness apart from most indoor tournaments and makes the event less stressful. Since many of the local media outlets come to cover the Ultimate Madness, they were also given a chance to participate, in a media mini tournament. Staffers from 106.3 FM, Channel 13 and the Herald Dispatch (which fielded two teams) took to the field in the evening while the player's party began. A catered dinner included shrimp, chicken and meatballs. In an ironic twist, the CO2 supply for the beer and soft dring taps ran out, and the caterer switched to canned drings. Not so many years ago there would have been a plentiful supply of CO2 at a paintball tournament, but times have changed, as has the dominance of compressed air.
The prelims resumed on Sunday morning with the first games being for the Women's and Rookie divisions.
With a cut of 8 teams advancing to the semifinals, and only 10 female teams, competing that division wasn't really ready to heat up until the semis. Coastal Breakers Vengeance and Superficial Blue were the two teams to get trimmed out of the pack by the prelims, while OKG finished in the top seat, followed directly by Warped Girls and Superficial Silver.
For the Rookies the cut from 51 teams down to 16 seminfinalists was more harsh. Teams were advanced by division rankings, not overall rankings. Xtreme Impact, and Psycho Circus Freaks were tied at 120 points, but a look at their head to head game score ranked Xtreme on top for their division so they went on to the finals while the Freaks went home.
The Novice division was tough as well - the top ranked team out of the prelims was Mantis Factory East which finished the prelims with a perfect score of 480, they earned every prelim point possible. The rankings would have put both Nemesis Novice teams in the same division. In order to prevent possible controversies of a sister team throwing a game, Nemesis Kingman was switched with Paintball Assylum. Aces Wild was the top prelim finisher for the Amateur teams. They were tied in points with Nemesis Raven, who went on to the semis in the second seat.
The Rookie semifinals were used to pick the 4 finalists by grabbing the top team in each division. Nemesis Raven Jr. had the top score of the finalists and ranked first.
For the women's division semifinals was the big sorting bin where half the teams would get knocked out. Superficial Silver was the leader here, followed by T&A Extreme. They wind on to a string of 3 perfect scores in the finals, becoming the women's champions. They were followed by Warped Girls, T&A Extreme and OKG.
In the Rookie finals Bad Boys had a series of three wins and took the Rookie title. Nemesis Raven Jr. finished in second, Voodoo placed third, and Xtreme Impact in fourth. Colorado Vengeance was the top Novice team. They were followed by Mantis, Mission, and Overkill Black.
In the Amateur division the top finisher with two wins and a loss was Brass Eagle All Stars, a nice compliment to their Mardi Gras win earlier in the season. Second place went to ESP Eclipse, Third to Nemesis Raven, and Fourth to the Oh No's.
Only minutes after the last finals game ended the netting started coming down, and work crews began erecting a stage for the awards ceremony. Like the first Ultimate Madness, the prize package for Madness II was quite fat. Paintguns went down to 8th place in each division with additional prizes further down. The women's first place award was presented by Karen Barber of Smart Parts. Karen was the first woman to attain the rank of pro in the NPPL while playing for the All Americans and has earned a collection of World Cup victory medals. Evelyn Choi of Lady T&A was awarded a Bushmaster 2002 Sportsmanship award. Choi had been accidentally scheduled to advance in the top gun competition after two losses, but caught and pointed out the error. Another one of the sportsmanship awards went to Total Greif for winning more than half of their games with pump action paintguns. With the amount of prizes to be awarded, the ceremony went on for quite some time, something that became the butt of a number of jokes.
Ultimate Madness is a tournament that
is here to stay. While the fields and stands were coming down, promoters
Milt Call and Paul Bollenbach were already discussing plans for next year's